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Chelsea transfer news: Mauricio Pochettino faces major decision after FA Cup win

Cameron Smith
Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea, 2023/24
© IMAGO

Mauricio Pochettino has a major decision to make in regards to who he selects as Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper for the rest of the 2023-24 season.

So far, it’s been fairly easy – Robert Sanchez started the season as the number one ‘keeper following his €28.7 million transfer from Brighton & Hove Albion, while Djordje Petrovic took over the reins when the Spaniard suffered a knee injury in December.

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However, things are far more complicated now.

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Sanchez is now back to full fitness and Pochettino must decide whether to reinstate the former Brighton man as his first-choice goalkeeper, or whether to stick with Petrovic, who has deputised excellently in the Spaniard’s absence.

In the Carabao Cup final last Sunday, Petrovic got the nod, unsurprisingly, with Pochettino opting against throwing Sanchez back into the deep end in his first appearance back from injury.

The midweek FA Cup clash against Leeds United, however, provided the perfect opportunity for Sanchez to return. Despite being fully fit, the Spaniard was unconvincing in between the sticks.

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He was involved in the poor build-up play that led to Leeds’ opener, while he stood and watched as Mateo Joseph nodded home an equaliser for Daniel Farke’s men.

While Sanchez can’t be solely blamed for either goal, his pass into Axel Disasi for Joseph’s first strike wasn’t the right option and he appeared to almost move out of the way for Leeds’ second goal too. Whether Petrovic could’ve prevented either strike is unknown, but the Serbian has been virtually flawless since his introduction into the team.

Djordje Petrovic should be Chelsea’s number one

Djordje Petrovic, Chelsea
© IMAGO – Djordje Petrovic, Chelsea

Arriving from New England Revolution last summer, the 24-year-old was forced to bide his time before being given a chance at Stamford Bridge, however he grabbed that opportunity with both hands following Sanchez’s injury and now looks to be the far more reliable choice at Stamford Bridge.

Sanchez enjoyed a fairly decent start to the campaign, but the Spaniard is error-prone and while he is capable of the extraordinary, Petrovic is remarkably a safer choice, despite the fact this is his first season in a top five European league.

Pochettino may be tempted to reward Sanchez with the number one spot back following his return from injury, but Petrovic has proven himself to be the better goalkeeper over the past few months and he simply doesn’t deserve to lose his place in the starting XI.

His cup final performance was excellent and Petrovic is also adept with his feet, combined with the fact he is a brilliant shot-stopper.

As a result, Pochettino must persist with the Serbian. If he doesn’t, it’ll add yet more pressure from Chelsea fans, most of whom believe Petrovic is the right choice.

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